It is rare that a technology service provider has all of the necessary skills and manpower in house to address every potential customer need. This is particularly the case in small hardware service firms, and MIE Labs is no exception. On the other hand there are many advantages to customers working directly with small firms, including flexibility, cost and expertise (not to mention the requirement in some contracts for a minimum percentage of small business participation). So how can a customer navigate the identification and engagement of a number of small firms to ensure that the necessary capabilities and manpower are brought to bear on their project while at the same time minimizing the need for added management overhead?
To better address this need, a group of Maryland-based small technology service providers - including MIE Labs, Sensing Machines, Root3Labs and NeWo Technologies - has joined together in a new strategic alliance in order to provide our respective customers with the variety of skills and manpower needed to address their most challenging hardware development projects, while at the same time streamlining the entire process for the customer from a program management and procurement point of view. To our customers, we provide the benefits of a single-point vendor contact while at the same time having strong coordination and cooperation between a variety of expert providers looking more like a much larger firm.
How does this all work? When one of the alliance members identifies a customer project that requires expertise or manpower beyond their own internal capabilities, they will act as the project lead. They will consult behind the scenes with other alliance members as needed to provide whatever additional expertise is required to fully meet the requirements of the project. The project lead will deal directly with their customer as their single-point contact for the project, but the customer will benefit from the capabilities brought to bear by the entire alliance team. As the project moves forward, any subcontracting between the alliance members will be handled entirely behind the scenes and the project lead will handle all internal project management tasks.
The advantages to the customer are manifest. While working directly with a small firm with whom they are already comfortable, they will have the benefit of first-class expertise in a wide range of areas that they would be unlikely to find in any one small firm. For the customer there is no longer a need to engage and program manage multiple individual small firms to provide expertise on a given project, while still maintaining the benefits of working with small company suppliers. The goal of the alliance is to bring the capabilities of a larger company to bear with the nimbleness and flexibility inherent in the operation of our small company members.
This new alliance, in combination with other strategic relationships such as MIE Labs’ recent cooperative agreement with JVD, Inc. in Silicon Valley to provide backend chip production, enables us and our alliance partners to better serve our customers now and as we grow in the future.